This genus of Neotropical (Central and South American regions) wasps is unusual, in that the wasps are strongly nocturnal. The nest is a typical Polistine nest, open, with no outer envelope, and mostly round in shape. The most fascinating feature is that the nest looks spherical in the day. On a closer look, this is due to the layer of wasps resting in a layer on the outside of the nest, forming an effective “protective covering”!

I could not find much other information on these wasps and what they prey on, their social structure, etc. I remember that colonies can number up to 200 or so, and they can be very defensive if provoked, pursuing intruders for quite a distance.

I have two species in my collection, Apoica pallens and Apoica flavissima. The former has a white ground colour, the latter yellow. The similarities and differences between these two species sort of parallel those of Parapolybia nodosa and Parapolybia varia in Hong Kong.

Note the large ocelli (3 simple eyes) on the top of the head. These are usually very small, but are quite large in these wasps. It seems that these, and enlarged main (compound) eyes, are distinct features of nocturnal species.

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